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Summary: History and Philosophy of Biology, especially evolutionary biology, genetics and animal behaviour; History of the Human Sciences; Philosophy of Science; Philosophy of History; Intellectual Property
Greg is a historian and philosopher of science whose work deals mainly with biology and the human sciences. He is the Director of the Leeds Humanities Research Institute, Editor-in-Chief of Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences and, from 2014 to 2016, President of the British Society for the History of Science. He is also currently Chair of the Education Committee of the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology.
He received his BA in History from Rutgers (1992) and his MPhil and PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge (1996, 2000). In his final year at Cambridge he was the Charles and Katharine Darwin Research Fellow at Darwin College. He has been at the University of Leeds since 2000, based throughout at the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science. From 2006-8 he served as the Centre's Director, overseeing the creation of a new University Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. In 2010 he was promoted to a personal chair. In 2012 he gave an inaugural lecture which can be viewed here.
His publications have centred on Darwinism, genetics and the sciences of mind and behaviour. His book The Simian Tongue: The Long Debate about Animal Language (2007) was awarded the 2010 Suzanne J. Levinson Prize from the History of Science Society for best book in the history of the life sciences and natural history. His other books include, as co-author, Darwin in Ilkley (with Mike Dixon, 2009) and, as co-editor, The Cambridge Companion to Darwin (with Jonathan Hodge, 2nd edition 2009). Currently he is at work on a book about the debate over Mendelism in the early twentieth century. Other interests include the theory and practice of counterfactual history and the interdisciplinary study of intellectual property.
He is active in promoting the history of science to wider audiences, appearing on Genius by Stephen Hawking on PBS/National Geographic Channel and In Our Time on BBC Radio 4, contributing to the Times Literary Supplement, and regularly giving public lectures. In 2015 he gave the annual Darwin Memorial Lecture in Shrewsbury and the first annual John Innes Lecture in the history of science at the John Innes Centre, Norwich. In November 2016 he will give the annual Thomas S. Hall Lecture in history and philosophy of science at Washington University in St. Louis.
He would be glad to hear from students interested in doing PhD or MRes dissertations on any aspect of biology, psychology and/or anthropology considered historically or philosophically.
Selected Recent Publications and Lectures:
- "Teach Students the Biology of Their Time: An Experiment in Genetics Education Reveals How Mendel's Legacy Holds Back the Teaching of Science." Nature 533 (19 May 2016): 293.
- "The Unmaking of a Modern Synthesis: Noam Chomsky, Charles Hockett, and the Politics of Behaviorism, 1955-1965." Isis 107 (March 2016): 49-73.
- "Beyond the 'Mendel-Fisher Controversy': Worries about Fraudulent Data Should Give Way to Broader Critiques of Mendel's Legacy." Science 350 (9 October 2015): 159-160. (An El Pais article about it can be accessed here.)
- "Experimenting with the Scientific Past." Presidential Address, British Society for the History of Science Annual Conference, Swansea, 4 July 2015.
For a full list of publications, see below or, for downloadable versions, see Greg's personal page